After COVID, India tries to get on top of tuberculosis

This micrograph describes Mycobacterium tuberculosis using acid-fast Ziehl-Neelsen stain; Magnified 1000 X. Fast-acting acid relies on the ability of mycobacteria to retain dye when treated with mineral acids or acid-alcohol solutions such as Ziehl-Neelsen, or Kinyoun stains that have carbolfuchsin formulations specifically for M . tuberculosis. Credit: public domain

When COVID-19 passes through India in 2020-21, millions of people are thought to have died. Efforts are being made to eradicate the disease by fighting a major killer: tuberculosis.

India is home to one-fourth of the world’s tuberculosis cases and it is estimated that half a million people die from treatment. lung disease in 2020 in South Asia – a third of the world’s population.

As a result of the outbreak, global mortality from the “murderer” increased in 2020 for the first time in more than a decade, changing the age of development, according to the World Health Organization.

In India, the number of new cases detected in 2020 actually fell by a quarter to nearly 1.8 million due to COVID restrictions and while the disease was depleting resources.

Nearly two-thirds of people with tuberculosis do not seek treatment, according to a government survey for 2019-21 released on World Tuberculosis Day on Thursday.

Ashna Ashesh, 29, who was diagnosed with tuberculosis four years ago, has seen patients, many of whom are isolated and unemployed due to locks, struggle to find support.

“They are terrified … They are looking for any information that can be given about the availability of tests and medications,” the statement said. public health an expert on the TB survivors’ group told AFP.

“The impact is enormous … COVID is deeply involved in the fight against tuberculosis. The recovery plan for TB is very important, both in India and around the world.”

India is currently embarking on a campaign to achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of ending tuberculosis by 2025, five years ahead of the UN target.

Experts and survivors are calling for a comprehensive election campaign to find “missing” issues, more vaccines and support to fight malnutrition, a major cause of tuberculosis.

Kuldeep Singh Sachdeva from the International Association for the Study of Tuberculosis and Pneumonia said states need to increase activities such as home visits and public screening.

Sachdeva, who previously led the government’s anti-tuberculosis program, told AFP: “It’s the only way you can get rid of tuberculosis now.

– Silver Roofing – COVID has officially killed nearly 520,000 Indians, but experts believe the true number is too high.

The outbreak – which saw COVID replace TB as the world’s deadliest disease – still has one silver lining: increasing the coverage of face masks.

Sachdeva estimates that this could reduce the spread of tuberculosis by 20 percent. He added that additional search engines for COVID could be pushed back for tuberculosis.

Mumbai – a city of 20 million people and a place with tuberculosis – has launched a program with young survivors such as Seema Kunchikorve, who was diagnosed with tuberculosis five years ago at the age of 20, to treat patients with now on the road with medicines.

Kunchikorve told AFP during a tuberculosis awareness campaign at a school in India’s Dharavi local government area.

Vijay Chavan, who treats patients with tuberculosis at the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Mumbai, said the COVID campaign showed a long-term strategy to fight the disease.

At the hospital for children under the age of five, patients spent hours checking their health on the sidewalks with brightly colored murals, before collecting a large tray of medication to treat. treat them.

“If there is a political agenda for tuberculosis, like COVID, it will definitely give us good results,” he told AFP.

WHO bells ring for TB support

© 2022 AFP

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